The Department of Chemistry commenced its activities in 1975, under the visionary leadership of (late) Professor S. Mageswaran. By his farsighted thinking, unrelenting hard work and wholehearted devotion to duty he elevated this new Department into a prestigious center where innovation is strived for in research, objective reasoning forms the basis of teaching, and, candid discussion and unfeigned cooperation are the norm for general administration.
These are the guiding principles of the Department even today and the Department is committed to maintain high standards in its academic and administrative spheres.
The Department of Chemistry of the University of Jaffna (then the Jaffna Campus of the University of Sri Lanka) came into existence in October 1974 when the undergraduate section of the Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai was taken over by the Government of Sri Lanka to establish the Faculty of Science of the new Campus.
In April 1975 Dr. S. Mageswaran was appointed as the first Head of the Department and the first batch of 27 undergraduates was admitted in June 1975. In 1978 the Department was shifted to a part of the newly built Natural Science Block in the Thirunelveli premises of the Campus. In the same year Dr. P. Thurairajan was appointed as the first Professor of Chemistry. Later he resigned from the post due to ill health and Dr. S. Mageswaran was appointed as the Professor of Chemistry in December 1979. In January 1979 the Jaffna Campus was raised to the state of an independent University.
Due to the untiring and dedicated efforts of Professor Mageswaran a new building was erected and the Department shifted to its own block in 1983. This building was damaged two times during the war.
From its humble inception in 1974 the Department of Chemistry has now grown into a prestigious centre for higher learning – thanks to the efforts of its long time Head Professor Mageswaran and other members of the staff. When Professor Mageswaran passed away in 1998, the building that houses the Department of Chemistry was named as ‘Mageswaran Block’ as a gesture of gratitude to the contribution made by him.